1. ITV Report

96% of children 'suffer loneliness' according to new survey

Credit: PA

A new survey from Children North East has found that children and young people in the region experience loneliness and social isolation both during the festive period - and all year round.

They're keen to stress that this is something that does not just affect older people.

96% of children and young people who answered the survey said they experience loneliness.

Loneliness is still an issue in early adult life over the Christmas period. One respondent, said:

“For a 23 year old with not many friends, and working, being totally dedicated to my job, I've found that I do get feelings of loneliness.

I want to be able to text someone and ask what they're doing but can't, as it's a busy time for everyone, which furthers the feelings of loneliness.”

The main reasons suggested were:

  • pressures of social media
  • hormones
  • exam pressures
  • family issues
  • bullying
  • materialism
  • race
  • gender
  • sexual orientation
  • religious beliefs
  • socio-economic status
  • labels given by their peers.

“At this time of the year we often hear about the loneliness and social isolation of older people but the results of this survey show us that children and younger people are affected by these issues too.

The findings of our survey illustrate that we all have a role to play in helping our young – whether you work for a charity, school and ordinary members of the public.

Hearing about these direct experiences shows us that services which help support the mental well-being of young people during Christmas and beyond are vital.”

– Jeremy Cripps, Chief Executive at Children North East

Children and young people surveyed, said that parents, carers and schools had the biggest role to play in helping lonely children and young people.

They also had lots of suggestions for improving the situation including better local advertising of support available, creating a new helpline, developing support groups and using more peer mentors.

The survey also indicated that society can do more to change attitudes and encourage children and young people to talk about how they feel, especially giving time for this during the school day.